What does 'primary insurance status' mean?

What does 'primary insurance status' mean?

Some Medicare members have other insurance coverage in addition to a Medicare plan. If an insurance company has "primary insurance status" it means that the company will pay the member's healthcare claims first, and Medicare will pay second.

No matter which insurance company pays first, keep in mind that you will still be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles and copayments, associated with either plan. 

Other types of insurance may include:

  • Auto insurance
  • Black lung benefits
  • Group health plans under certain conditions*
  • Homeowner's insurance
  • Workers' compensation
  • COBRA
  • Veterans' benefits
  • TRICARE


If you do not have any other insurance, Medicare is your primary insurance. If this is the case, your doctor or specialist will submit all claims to Medicare first before billing you for your share. You will be responsible for paying all out-of-pocket expenses for services. 

If your other insurance company does not pay first in time, Medicare may make the payment with the intent to recover the payments from the primary insurer later. 

Medicare True-Cost Revealer. Now you can see the real costs of each Medicare plan... before you buy it.

Helpful Hint

Find out what every Medicare plan really costs

Each Medicare plan covers different drugs, and re-imburses different amounts.

Until now, it was impossible to compare Medicare plans — to know how much you will really pay under each plan.

Medicare Helper is proud to introduce our Medicare True-Cost Revealer. Just tell us your drugs, and we’ll show you the "Everything Cost" for each plan — that is, the real cost of the plan through the year.

Amazing. And completely free.

Try Medicare True-Cost Revealer

What does 'primary insurance status' mean?